Tuesday, April 26, 2005

All about Time

Any tips on time management? Surely you do a lot more in the same time than a average person. I think the trick is to work smartly. But how?

I don't think I do more than many people. What I do might be more conspicuous - you see it, but I don't think I "do more".

How to be efficient? Do what you know. If I had to sit down and research every topic I wrote out in Expert One on One Oracle, or Effective Oracle by Design, they would have taken ages longer. Much of it I was able to type literally off the top of my head. Some of it needed research, but mostly in search of the best way to show something I knew to be true, or at least thought I knew to be true, sometimes it wasn't true! For example, did you know that in Oracle 10g, maxtrans as a physical storage characteristic is deprecated. That stumped me for a couple of minutes today in revising Expert One on One - my tests to show the effects of maxtrans worked in 9i but not in 10g. Case in point why test cases to demonstrate something are crucial, never would have known that otherwise. That is why in answering, I provide them (maybe that is another thing to add to the list of time management, would you believe me if I was wrong frequently? Would I have to spend more time convincing you without them. The test cases are my insurance policy)

If I had to figure out what I was writing about, I would be a lot less effective. I guess that is why my books will be last to market. By the time the second edition of Expert One on One Oracle hits the streets, I'm sure 10g R2 will be out. This is what I'll have to say about 10g R2 in my book:
This space intentionally left blank.

Just like I did about 9ir1 with the first edition and 10gr1 with Effective Oracle by Design. I wrote about what I already knew, I wasn't learning and writing at the same time.

On asktom - I deliberately say "Sorry, I haven't touched forms in 10 years - use otn.oracle.com". I used to burn some amount of time trying to track down an answer, but now know that just forwarding it on is the most efficient way to do it.

You have to figure out what is important too. I find deadlines are mandatory with me - give me a task I'm not 100% into without a deadline and forget it. It'll happen when it happens. Give me a deadline, something I can put on my calendar and it will happen.

I guess it is about commitment too though. If I say I'm going to do something, I work fairly hard to ultimately do it. Sometimes accomplishing a lot is a matter of signing up I guess. I coached an Odyssey of the Mind team again this year, my son is on it (they took second place). It meant trying to be home on Friday after school from 3:30-5:30 and for a couple of hours on Saturdays for a couple of months. It was a lot of work (getting a team of six 12 year olds to accomplish something without "outside intervention" is much like herding cats or mice. Really hard). I made a commitment to do it though. It wasn't a "in my spare time" sort of thing. There is no such thing as spare time. I had to set aside the time and just say it'll be done at this time.

So I guess it would boil down to

  • Do what you know best.
  • Prioritize.
  • Delegate.
  • Commit.

Oh, and get a deadline if you are like me, deadlines are very useful. Nothing like an impending deadline to get me motivated.

Maybe this is most important of all, do something you like and think makes an impact. Then it hardly feels like work.


Anonymous Anonymous said....

For example, did you know that in Oracle 10g, maxtrans as a physical storage characteristic is deprecated.

Thanks for that one. I too was stumped until now.

Tue Apr 26, 07:17:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

# Do what you know best.
# Prioritize.
# Delegate.
# Commit.

Would that be a two-phase commit? ;-D

Tue Apr 26, 08:28:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

You have it all figured out, haven't you! Here, I have an answer: It's 42. What's the question :)

Like they ask in beauty paegents, 'If you were given the opportunity to meet one person in history, who would that be and why?'

Let's make it better. Dead or alive. Who are the people whom you have wanted to meet?

Tue Apr 26, 08:42:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

You should enjoy Mike's latest blog entry


Tue Apr 26, 12:08:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

You should enjoy...

Not particularly. I don't recall writing anything about him recently... Unless he is referring to the how asktom got started story. But that definitely was not about him. Carly Simon had a song that is relevant here.

I think they see lots of windmills.

Tue Apr 26, 01:07:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

But do you microschedule - "i have to do (a) in 15 minutes, (b) after 30 minutes" - or go for a coarser granularity ? TIA

Tue Apr 26, 05:15:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

But do you microschedule

Hah, no, not a chance.

Daily targets are my goal... By the end of the day..

Tue Apr 26, 08:13:00 PM EDT  

Blogger nilendu said....

I actually stumbled upon the MAXTRANS thing a few weeks back. Thanks to this excellent course material from Oracle university -


Module 2 - "Maxtrans and Maximum Concurrency"

Note, continual use of MAXTRANS does not raise an error.

"Previously, MAXTRANS was the physical attribute of a table, index, or cluster that specifies the maximum number of concurrent update transactions for any given data block belonging to the segment. With Oracle Database10g, objects are preconfigured for maximum concurrency. This means that the system now allows up to 255 concurrent update transactions for any data block, depending on the available space inside the block.

For backward compatibility reasons, if you specify MAXTRANS while creating a table, you do not get an error message. Internally, this parameter is ignored."

Tue Apr 26, 08:28:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Slava said....


you've said in another post that you learn new thing (about Oracle) every day. Considering last post, do you prioritize what "new things" you'll be learning first? It there a list of things you want to learn/know better this year?

Thank you.

Tue Apr 26, 09:14:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Bob B said....

In response to Slava above:

Did you make new year's resolutions? What were they (assuming you're comfortable sharing them)?

Tue Apr 26, 11:22:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Slava said....

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tue Apr 26, 11:39:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Doug C said....

Tom - you mentioned somewhere around here that you got up at 6am, hit the road by 6:30, was in the office by 7 and drank coffee until 9. What time do you get up on the weekends? 6am as well?

Wed Apr 27, 01:40:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous sp said....

Heh, how can you NOT have new gadgets for 2005? I made an almost similar resolution, and I already find myself wanting a new laptop, a better digital camera and lenses... and there are many more weeks to close :/

Wed Apr 27, 02:54:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

do you prioritize what "new things" you'll be learning first?

I started answering that here, and realized -- it was going to be long, so I'll do this as a blog soon...

Did you make new year's resolutions?

Nope, I've never really done that. Continual incremental change is more normal.

that you got up at 6am, hit the road by 6:30

depends on how early the kids activities are. This Sunday it was 4:30am ;) Alan had to cook breakfast for us in the woods over a fire to get his second class level in Boy Scouts. Sometime around 7 or so (assuming we didn't stay out late the night before -- poker nights go till about 2am, so that saturday is a sleep in saturday)

Wed Apr 27, 07:17:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Simmy said....

Hi Tom,

Out of curiosity does your wife work? I ask b/c in my observations of my house where both my husband and I work, we are generally functioning at various levels of chaos. Granted I have a baby (10 months old) and she can't feed herself yet whereas your kids are a little more self sufficient :-) But maybe that just makes things even crazier! Just wondering...


Wed Apr 27, 04:51:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Dan Loomis said....

but I don't think I "do more".

An understatement for sure. Maybe I'm just not a good time manager, but I can’t imagine finding time to do extensive travel, write 3+ books, speak at an untold number of conferences, manage a high traffic website, and still find time for other "personal" or family time. My hat is off to you sir.

On a personal front, I have 3 young girls (5, 2, and new born) and with that (understandably) a demanding wife, not to mention a personal life outside of all of that. After getting the girls down for the night (around 8), I'm simply dead tired, but as a homeowner I have stuff to fix, the lawn to mow, landscaping, cars to maintain...you get the idea. To even consider writing a book or going to school on top of that would put me in the nuthouse, literally.

Tom - I really do envy the amount of work you accomplish - don't sell yourself short.

Wed Apr 27, 04:54:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

does your wife work?

She works very hard, just not for a company. (must choose words very carefully, she might read this...).

She does not have a conventional job, but she does a ton. Coordinates the LYSA (Loudon Youth Soccer Association) fields and young teams. Girl Scout leader. School mom. You name it. (and she was trained as an accountant so I've never actually done my own taxes :)

We have chaos sometimes but there are three of us -- her mom has lived with us for years and is a great help (we can leave for a weekend/trip if we want)... Definitely makes it easier.

Wed Apr 27, 08:34:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Its great to read your blog.I have always been the ardent fan of AskTom.

My question:
Are you happy with what you are doing.Does it give you real happiness and purpose.As it very often happen we do very often what we dont like or cant relate with or get sick of it in between.How you manage all this type o f emotions

Thu Apr 28, 06:29:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

deadlines are very useful. Nothing like an impending deadline to get me motivated.

One of my favorite quotes by Douglas Adams comes to mind (quoting from my head, hence inaccurately):

{quote src=D. Adams}
I love deadlines -- especially the whooshing sound they make when passing by



Mon May 02, 11:35:00 AM EDT  


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